30 Apr 2020
Even though it's easy to stay captivated, tranquil and totally at peace in Seaside, you may want to stretch your legs a little and get out with the family to explore the surrounding areas. If so, there are plenty of great day trips to enlarge your Seaside vacation - read on for the best!
Lucky for you, Walton County where Seaside is located is home to more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. In addition, more than 40 percent of the total acreage is dedicated to nature preservation, so you have many chances to enjoy nature while you are biking or hiking through the trails. Seaside is in the middle of the 18.6-mile Timpoochee Trail, named after a prominent Native American chief. The Trail winds through charming beach neighborhoods, dune lakes, state parks and beach access points, the perfect reference for day trips.
From your starting point of Seaside, you have access to some of Florida’s most beautiful parks and wildlife preserves, including Eden Gardens State Park, Morrison Springs County Park, Grayton Beach State Park, and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. All these state parks give you an opportunity to spend time pursuing family-friendly activities such as horseback rides over the coastal dunes, hiking, exploring the beach, or just wandering and enjoying the beautiful weather and nature.
Eden Gardens State Park
Eden Gardens State Park comprises 163 acres of beautiful trails, hiking paths, and gardens - as its name indicates - including a heritage rose garden, a butterfly garden, a secret garden, and over 250 camellias and azaleas blooming throughout the park. If you prefer to do something water-related after visiting the gardens, you can check out Tucker Bayou for fishing, canoeing, or kayaking. Tucker Bayou is a shallow body of water in Eden Gardens State Park that connects to the Choctawhatchee Bay, which makes it a great place for saltwater fishing.
Gulf Island National Seashore
Another fun thing to do near Seaside is to take a boat tour of nearby islands, including Gulf Island National Seashore. The 12 areas that make up this seashore include historic brick forts, shaded picnic areas, trails - and campgrounds if you feel like roughing it overnight. You can also enjoy several ranger-led programs, including a barrier island walk, or a hike through the salt marsh habitats.
Fort Pickens Campground and Fort
For a history lesson, check out Fort Pickens Campground, which is a part of the Gulf Island National Seashore and located south of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze. Here you can relax on the white sandy beaches of Santa Rosa Island, set up camp in the campgrounds, or visit the historic Fort Pickens built in 1834. This fort was built in the shape of a pentagon and was meant to defend Pensacola Bay during the Civil War, although it was never occupied by Confederates. It's one of four Southern seacoast forts that remained in Union control for the duration of the Civil War. This fort was also used to imprison Geronimo, the famous Apache war chief, and several of his warriors in 1886-87. You can tour the fort itself as well as the surrounding areas.
Grayton Beach State Park
Grayton Beach State Park is another great day trip from Seaside. Along with activities such as cycling, hiking, fishing, and camping, Grayton Beach State Park is located along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. As you enjoy the sandy beaches, you can also see shorebirds, bald eagles, osprey, and other bird species in addition to local wildlife such as deer, grey foxes, and even the Florida black bear if you are lucky!
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is another treasure along the way. This state park near Seaside features white quartz sand dunes, the sparkling blue water of the Gulf of Mexico, and freshwater dune lakes that abound with all kinds of aquatic wildlife. As you hike or walk through this park, you will enjoy three miles of beautiful beaches, pine tree forests, dunes, wetlands and lakes. Topsail Hill is also part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, so it’s a great place to see the native wildlife, birds, butterflies and more.
Meanwhile, back in Seaside, this charming vacation destination overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beaches, get in the ocean, and experience fun water activities. The white sugar sandy beaches are some of the most beautiful in the country, and Seaside is home to the largest private beachfront along the entire Highway 30A corridor.
Seaside is only a 5-hour drive from Miami, and offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. And once you get into that casual holiday lifestyle, if you feel like a trip after swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, shopping, eating and just ambling around town - now you know where to go for a day's adventure!